Since the majority of Americans and many of our forum members are Christians, I have decided to start an ongoing discussion of Christianity. For those of you who do not consider yourselves as Christians, this will be helpful in understanding where they are coming from and in disputing the claims of some evangelicals that, unless you repent of your evil ways, you will surely burn in
The first thing we need to understand about Yeshua is that He was not a Christian. Yeshua was a Jew. That is why the first seventeen verses of Matthew list the lineage from Abraham to Yeshua. The author wanted to provide proof that Yeshua was a REAL Jew. So for all you Jew haters out there, you need to realize that you can't hate Jews without hating Jesus. That ought to put a cramp in the Friday night cross burning.
So to really understand the life and ministry of Yeshua, we have to understand the history and culture of the people He was speaking to. If you go to
http://www.mapsofwar.com/ind/imperial-history.html you will find an animated map of the Middle East. Click "play" and you will see the time line start to move from 1400 B.C. This is when Israel was part of the Egyptian empire. This would have been the time of Moses. About 1050 B.C., we see the rise of the kingdom of Israel. This would have been the time of David and Solomon. Israel was then overrun by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Macedonians and the Romans.
So by the time Yeshua came along, the Jews were sick and tired of being part of somebody else's empire. They longed for the days when they were an independent people. Their one burning desire was to get rid of the Romans. So it is easy to see why they were so excited when Yeshua rode into Jerusalem. They hailed Him as the successor to David, who would lead the revolt against the Romans and restore the kingdom of Israel.
Imagine their disappointment when they found out that Yeshua wasn't interested in getting rid of the Romans. Actually, as He demonstrated when brought before Pilate, He considered the Romans a bunch of irrelevant politicians. He knew where the real power lay. His goal was to lead a spiritual revolution. The Hebrews, however, wanted something more tangible. It is therefore understandable
that they would cry for the freedom of Barrabas, who had been sentenced for killing Roman soldiers, than some idealistic preacher who had preached, not against the Romans, but against their own temple.
In my ensuing posts, I will explore more of the culture of Israel to help us develop a better understanding of the ministry of Yeshua. We will also follow the development of Christianity through the Roman persecution, the First Council of Nicea, the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Reformation to today. Along the way, you are welcome to contribute your opinions and questions. I do not expect you to take everything I say as gospel. As a matter of fact, knowing this rowdy
bunch as I do, I would be disappointed if you did.